Taiwan’s Biggest Secret 台灣的最大祕辛

Immigration laws can often be garbled and silly in any country. Nations need borders like homes needs doors. But, doors must open and close so that invited guests and welcomed friends don’t need to crawl through windows.

Taiwan’s unfortunate situation is known only to a few because the problem hides behind its complexity and neither directly nor obviously affects the Taiwanese. Though not obvious, the problem deeply wounds Taiwanese, who are required by schools to learn English, and hinders their opportunities, many of which require international communication. Though despicable, Taiwan’s problem with international-related law is by no means the worst. It is but one example that every country can learn from.

How the KMT-Nationalists destroyed English education in Taiwan


This is a problem with a simple solution that has been discussed with the Tainan Research department in Taiwan. Tainan’s City Yongkang District Councilor has also been made aware of this matter.


English learning in Taiwan suffers because the government considers native English teaching the same as “white collar” work and does not recognize it as a special job. Normal Taiwanese jobs need “protection” from cheap foreign labor. But “native English teaching” cannot be a Taiwanese job by definition. So, “protecting” English teaching jobs only hurts Taiwanese students and does not “protect” any Taiwanese employees. The solution is to “license” ESL teachers to teach anywhere, any amount of hours, if they report hours and pay taxes. “Work permits” should be optional for foreigners who want residence, but not a requirement to help Taiwanese learn English. This does not “relax” labor laws. This changes ESL laws from Ministry of Labor “work permit” to Ministry of Education “ESL license”, then labor laws only apply as they would to normal Taiwanese.


The current MOL white collar foreign labor law requires 14 hours/week at about $400NT/hour or higher every week from the foreign employee. While the MOL does not require companies to have large amounts of money to offer such a job, the 14 hour requirement is a de facto “large company” requirement. This 14 hour requirement eliminates many normal-sized companies south of Taipei. As a result, many English-speaking Westerners move to greater Taipei and the English everywhere else is not as good.


The 14 hour law should be a requirement ONLY for resident visas, not teaching English. Taiwan’s government should offer a “teaching license” through the Ministry of Education.


That’s the simple part. Here is more in-depth information…


Urban Myths

There are four urban myths about this:

1. Westerners prefer Taipei because they like the “big city”:
Actually, Taipei is not a “big city”. Hong Kong, Singapore, and Tokyo are. By the time Westerners travel from the other side of the world, if they land in Taiwan, they want countryside and beauty. Some city life is nice, but they don’t want “Taipei” only. Driving scooters is also fun and is easier outside of Taipei.


2. Westerners want a “resident visa” or ARC in Taiwan:
Actually, Westerners in Taiwan are already traveling. They like travel or they wouldn’t be here. Westerners get asked in Taiwan by Taiwanese, “Where will you travel to for [the next holiday]?” One Western friend always answers, “I think I will travel to Taiwan. And I’m already here.” An ARC is convenient, being “required” to travel outside of Taiwan ever few months is kind of like “requiring” a child to eat chocolate. A job program with no ARC would attract many foreigners.


3. High standards are always-always better:
Consider prohibition and marijuana. Banning some things creates black markets. There is a huge black market for illegal ESL teaching in cram schools that would not exist without the 14 hour law.


4. The government doesn’t know about the problem:
Actually, Western native English teachers have been complaining to the KMT-controlled government for a long time. Just like with most of Taiwan’s problems, this is a problem that the KMT continues, knowing very well about the problem. The KMT also knows that the law will discourage Foreign English teachers from living in poorer areas of Taiwan… Especially areas that vote DPP. Isn’t that a coincidence!? That helps the KMT. Do you believe it was an accident? Think about it. But, the central government of Taiwan has known about this problem for a long time.

事 實上 ,外籍老師已經對國民黨這種集權式的政府抱怨好一段時間了。就如同大多數台灣存在的問題一樣,國民黨也很清楚他們存在著同樣的問題,但卻縱容它一直存在。 而他們也非常清楚,這樣的法規會讓許多留在都市以外地區的外籍老師打退堂鼓…尤其是那些民進黨的票倉地區,那會是一個巧合嗎?這不就對國民黨本身有利 嗎!你相信這是湊巧嗎?而中央政府長久以來都非常清楚這樣的情況。

Recommended Law

A “teaching license” should require:

  1. Application to the Ministry of Education, either in person, through the Post Office, or at an Immigration office, all locations of which have a checklist of required items available.
  2. An International Driving Permit with cycle endorsement (or Taiwan Driver’s license).
  3. Native English passport and a promise of having lived 10 years in that country.
  4. Health exam (HIV/TB).
  5. Be in Taiwan one year prior (verified by passport stamps).
  6. No criminal record in Taiwan beyond basic traffic moving/parking violations (checked/reported automatically by police).
  7. Pay taxes previous year (on renewal).
  8. A simple knowledge test of procedures, including basic MOL, “Taiwan motorcycle left” turn procedure, how to keep a log of teaching hours and where/how much to report the hours and pay taxes and health insurance each month.
  9. Can pass a simple test of identifying/typing/writing zuoyin after hearing the letters spoken individually, can copy Chinese characters of 11 strokes or less accurately enough for a digital device to recognize them. (This verifies ‘language concern/awareness’, something any language teacher should have. Normally, this could be achieved by the first year in Taiwan being as a language student.)
  10. The teacher to report the number of hours, addresses where lessons are taught, and pay a flat tax of 50NT$ per hour of teaching, regardless of how much the teacher charges. The government assumes $400/hour, so there is no room for lying. (The 50NT$ includes tax withholdings and national health insurance.) This also controls the price naturally. If the teacher stays in Taiwan more than 183 days, some of the taxes may be refundable under normal tax law. There should be a special tax bonus for teachers who live in Taiwan more than 183 days to encourage teachers to stay. Taxes are paid and hours are reported at the Post Office.
  11. Teachers must enroll in National Health Insurance, the paperwork is included in the original application at the Post Office. The insurance cost is deducted from the 50NT$ paid per hour.
  12. ADDED TIER: with a college 4-year degree and two years in Taiwan, an additional endorsement that allows teaching in a D-5 registered classroom, such as cram school.
  13. TESOL certification from a TESOL class sponsored by Taiwan’s government.



  1. 向教育部提出執照申請,並應該親自前往郵局、移民署辦事處等辦理,不論是以上哪個單位都必須要有可以核對資料的清單。
  2. 兩輪的國際駕照許可證明(或台灣的駕照或任何在台灣合法駕駛車輛的證明)。
  3. 當地的護照和一個在自己的國家居住超過10年的聲明。
  4. 體檢報告(愛滋/結核)
  5. 之前來台滿一年(當年留在台灣超過330天)者(確認護照的憑證)
  6. 在台無前科紀錄,除了交通違規記錄(資料與警察單位連線確認)
  7. 前年有繳稅紀錄(當每次換照的時候)
  8. 針對一些程序及基礎知識簡單的測驗,包括基本勞動法規、機車兩段式左轉,每個月如何登錄教育時數、報稅的方法以及健保的條款及繳費。
  9. 通過ㄧ些簡單的測驗,像是能夠在聽完一遍朗讀的注音後可以獨自辨識、寫下跟輸入所聽到的注音;可以抄下11個筆畫或是少於11個筆畫也能精確使電腦裝置辨識這些字的能力。(這些可以確認你對這些語言的辨識度以及敏感性,這也是一個語言教學的老師應該具備的條件。這對一個第一年來台灣作為一個外籍學生可以達成的程度)
  10. 外籍老師申報其教學時數、教學地址,且不論一個小時時薪多少,支付每個教學小時均一價50元台幣的稅金。台灣政府假想外籍老師一個小時時薪400元台幣,所以不會有謊報的可能(50元包括所得稅及健保費用)。這可以控制薪資的給予。若外籍老師待在台灣超過183天的話,也許還可以退稅。對於那些一年內在台超過183天的外籍老師 們,應該給予一個稅賦獎勵制度。且允許在台灣的郵局就可以報稅及申報時數。
  11. 外籍老師的資料應該登錄於健保局,文件程序也包含第一次在郵局辦理的申請手續。而健保的費用就從扣除的50元中支付。
  12. 備註:擁有一個4年的大學文憑和兩年在台灣的經歷,通過特別的聲明是允許在台灣對D-5等級的教育單位進行教育,例如補習班。
  13. TESOL認證,台灣政府主辦的TESOL班級。

A Teaching License would:

  • Look similar to a normal ID or ARC card, similar, but not confusable with
    Bear a passport and Taiwan taxpayer number and bear any extra endorsements, such as “D5” for classroom and endorsements for driving such as “CAR”, “CH”, “T”, “CY”, etc.
  • Allow the foreigner to carry one card instead of a passport and International Driving Permit and/or Taiwan Driver’s license.
  • Be issued by Immigration.


  • 可以比照身分證或是居留證的樣子製作,但應是可以容易被區分的。 擁有護照和稅籍號碼或是任何需要額外的簽署或是背書,像是D-5的等級的教育單位教學憑證或是駕照種類。
  • 可以讓外國人持這一張執照來替代國際駕照或是台灣的駕照或是駕照。
  • 由移民署來控管。

A Teaching License can be used for:

  • 180 days of visitor visa extension.
  • Proof of purpose of visit (such as visa application, etc).
  • National Health Insurance.
  • Taiwan Driver’s license eligibility.
  • Ability to own a vehicle in Taiwan.
  • A simple way to pay/mail/electronically pay monthly taxes/health insurance at any local post office or tax office.
  • Post Office bank account.
  • Teaching any basic subject at a level that does not require any additional license using English, except a D-5 classroom requires the higher tier endorsement on the license.


  • 適用180天的延長簽證。
  • 證明來台的目的(例如申請簽證時會使用到)。
  • 全民健康保險(任何一位在台的外籍老師應該都要有健保,就算他沒有居留證)。
  • 台灣的駕照資格。
  • 在台灣擁有車輛。
  • 可在任何一間郵局或國稅機關簡易的支付郵件/以電子方式支付。
  • 每月的稅金/健保費用。
  • 郵局的帳戶。
  • 需要特殊証書或更高層級的教學以外,能用英文做任何最基本的教學。

A Teaching License cannot get you:

  • A Resident visa or “ARC”.
  • Years counted toward an APRC/JPRC.

This program is very simple so it is easy for foreigners to do it and obey the rules.

This program should also have a simple information about the program and requirements via a memorable-domain website, developed, designed, and copywritten by an American, Canadian, or other native speaker. (Taiwanese web design is quite horrific in the eyes of Westerners.)


  • 居留簽證或是居留證。
  • 申請永久居留證(APRC和JPRC)的年資累積。